New service helps vintners and wine lovers

Cow Hollow resident Ken Majer and his business partner, Jeff Hall, have developed an advisory service for local wine makers. Just about everyone who makes and sells wine understands the three-tier marketing distribution system. What Majer & Hall have done is show winemakers the wisdom of cutting out the middleman.

Here’s an example. A winemaker makes a great wine that costs $10–$15 to make. A wholesaler pays $20. The wholesaler then sells it to the retailer for $30, and the retailer (BevMo or Safeway) sells it to you, the customer, for $40. Find the same wine in a restaurant, and it could cost as much as $78.

The “win-win,” says Hall, is to have the customer buy the wine directly from the winery at the retail price of $40. Better yet, join the winery’s wine club, and buy the wine for $34 (15 percent savings). Take the wine to a restaurant, and even with a $15 corkage, you’re still $29 ahead for the same wine you would pay $78 for on the wine list.

Vintners sell the wine to you for $14 to $20 more than what the wholesaler pays. That’s a win for the winemaker. You, as a wine club member, pay less for the wine than you would at your local retail store, and pay much less than you would from a restaurant wine list.

This is old news to winemakers; however, Majer & Hall not only demonstrate greater profits from a robust direct-to-consumer program, they also show the winemakers how to do it using tasting room programs, third-party relationships, and strategic partnerships.

“We just want to help winemakers get consumers to enjoy world-class wines at an affordable price,” says Majer.

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